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Please improve the interior so I can buy a Model S.

Please improve the interior so I can buy a Model S.

Months after test-driving the Model S, I bought an Audi A7, sad to say. I post the following comments in hopes that Tesla will read them, heed them, make adjustments, and make the Model S more appealing to mainstream buyers like myself so that we can participate in the sustainable transport revolution.

I loved the concept, drive, look, and state-of-the-art technology of the Model S. It was different enough to get me excited about buying a car again. And it doesn't sacrifice range, power, or style as its EV predecessors do. Though it's more expensive and can't be justified by fuel savings (until gas goes north of $8/gallon), I could afford it as a second car and would really have fun owning one and participating in a revolution.

But I couldn't get past the interior.

Unfortunately, this is a very competitive class of cars and the Model S interior is far behind that of its rivals. The German automakers have evolved their cockpits to wrap around the driver just the right amount of tasteful appointments. I understand that the touchscreen eliminates the need for knobs and buttons and that's what's cool about the Model S. But it doesn't eliminate the need for door pockets, handles, hooks, armrests, and possibly even a more traditional shift lever just because many of us are used having these things.

Does the dash need to be pushed so far under the windshield just because there is no engine under the hood? Couldn't the touchscreen be a bit closer to the driver and angled that way to make the driver feel like the only one in the car (which they usually are)? Could the air vents be in better proportion to the large screen? Why can't there be something that fills in the space next to the driver's right leg, just because there is no transmission there? And how about a simple, familiar shift lever near my right hand to make me feel like I'm driving a car instead of a golf cart? Why can't the front seats be more substantial? Are these oversights all to save on the weight of the vehicle? Or was the interior simply an afterthought relative to the more substantial innovations of the Model S?

The Model S, as I configured it, was over $90K. And there's no pre-owned inventory. So I ultimately traded in my 15-year-old Lexus for a 2012 Audi A7 costing almost half as much and I love it. But I'm still burning gas and that's still in the back of my mind. So I'm hoping that Tesla will re-style the interior - they've solved many more difficult problems - and the next version of this car will win me over in the not-too-distant future.

NKYTA | 24. juni 2014

To each his/her own. I love the minimalist interior.

Why can't there be something that fills in the space next to the driver's right leg, just because there is no transmission there?

Why would I want anything to "fill" that space? I can fill it with whatever I want.

Enjoy your Audi but do bear in mind you not only missed out on driving the most fun car every, but also the safest!

sule | 24. juni 2014

To all his/her own. I like Model S interior better than Audi. In fact, I looked at Audi and one of the reasons I didn't buy it is its interior. I liked even Japanese (Acura) interior better. And I could not fit my head in a Q7 with its sun/pano roof. Does that mean that I could not buy an Audi? No. I could, I just didn't want to.

Model S interior is different. It is minimalistic and spacious. No million knobs. Clean. Yet not typical "other American" that I could not swallow.

J.T. | 24. juni 2014

It isn't a competitive market. Tesla has no competition.

LEvans | 24. juni 2014

See my related thread about what me and my girlfriend consider to be not so appealing wood trim choices. The Model S can use an interior upgrade.

I hope you don't get attacked by Tesla fans but let me just say that you have a point to a certain extent. We were considering purchasing a W222 S Class but, unlike you, we decided the minimalist interior with wood trim we didn't like was negated by the vastly superior high performance EV experience and decided to get a Model S anyway.

From talking to people in the Mercedes forums, they concur with your assessment about the Model S interior and I agree with you to some extent.

I disagree with you about the display position and gear shifter. Not sure I would want the 17" screen positioned another way as I'd want the front passenger to have a clear view of the screen. Coming from a Mercedes I am completely used to where the shifter is and I think it is a complete waste of space to install a traditional shifter where it usually goes.

To us the EV drive train of the Model S was so good that we were willing to accept the Model S interior, uninspiring wood trims and all. But I know as Tesla grows to be a 500,000 unit car company they will have to take concerns like yours seriously.

I hope someone at Tesla reads your comments and realizes that your comments represent a segment of customers who may have passed up on a Model S. Yes right now Tesla is supply constrained but sooner or later they need to make the interior more competitive with cars in the same price range.

carlk | 24. juni 2014

You just stay with your A7. The waiting list for the MS is 3~4 months long there are too many people like what the car is. As good it is it's definitely not for everyone. That's why there are so many car companies and brands.

LEvans | 24. juni 2014

PS: @stephen.bennett, even with the Model S interior being what it is, I think you passed up on the best driving production vehicle vehicle you can buy. Especially if you were considering a P85.

Enjoy your A7 and it does have a finer interior, better trim and materials, as well as better executed ambient lighting at night but the Model S is a better car to drive in almost every other way.

jinglehyme | 24. juni 2014

The A7 was my second choice. The 97K out the door price of my MS didn't make me flinch because the driving dynamics were far superior to the A7, and well, anything below 100K - Both cars have headroom problems. I'm 6'4" after all.

And Audi has dependability problems much like the early production MS.

BTA22 | 24. juni 2014

A7? (fog horn sounds) Boooooring!

My grandpa drives an A7, it fits him well.

Jewsh | 24. juni 2014

The Model S does not *really* compete with the A7. If the batteries had the same cost as a gas tank, you'd be comparing it to a more pedestrian family sedan.

Not a fair comparison.

Bighorn | 24. juni 2014

In accentuating the superficial, you've lost sight of the essential. And that's okay. As others have said--to each their own. Currently, with the Model S, what you describe as shortcomings is of little concern to the company or stockholders since demand will outpace supply for the foreseeable future. I guess the BMW and Porsche that I've owned were down-market enough for me not to miss any of the luxury veneer which you find indispensable. I agree the Audi is a beautiful car and I'd have been thrilled with an RS6 until Tesla offered a vastly superior alternative.

jbdvm1988 | 24. juni 2014

@stephen.bennett. i had some of the same issues and purchased a new A7 TDI. Its not as economical as MS but gets an easy 40+mpg highway. The interior of the Audi sold me over the MS but if the MS interior improves then my wife gets the A7 and I get a model S.
FWIW-i ordered the A7 exactly as I wanted and it took 4 months so both vehicles take the same time to build/ship to the customer

GAGSTESLA | 24. juni 2014

Enjoy your Audi, I for one (and many others) love the look of the Tesla. I think less is more in a lot of ways.

I still wonder why those that bought other cars come here to moan and groan about Tesla? Does it make you feel better about your purchase or are you trying to convince Tesla owners they made a bad choice?

IF Tesla made the interior just like YOU want it, I bet there would be a large number of people that want it some other way.

mrspaghetti | 24. juni 2014

@stephen.bennett

I stopped reading after you compared the Model S to a golf cart. Sorry, I can't believe you actually ever did a test drive.

laurimoss | 24. juni 2014

We sold our A7 to get the P85. Overall, it was a good trade...BUT, anyone who says that the Model S interior is even close to as comfortable or luxurious as the A7 hasn't been in the A7. A perfect car would be my P85 with the A7 interior.

That said, the A7 is a spectacular car in all respects but we wouldn't go back to an ICE car, even one as nice an A7.

LEvans | 24. juni 2014

@GAGSTESLA: Maybe they are just providing feedback. Our company serves about 5,000 customers each year. I used to get all bent out of shape when I received a complaint but I realized customers who do that are generally doing you a favor by bringing certain deficiencies to your attention so you can provide a better product or service.

Now of course people make unreasonable requests sometimes but sometimes their concerns do have merit and I think some of the OP's concerns have merit. The OP took the time to voice his concerns because he cares and that is a good thing.

Customer feedback is what leads to better products. Arrogance, not listening to customer feedback, or building the best product possible is what has resulted in GM being what it is.

Captain_Zap | 24. juni 2014

I send my feedback directly to Tesla.

JAD | 24. juni 2014

Funny, I didn't buy the A7 for the interior. Test drove the diesel as I have been very happy with our previous Audis and think the A7 looks great. Unfortunately, to me, the A7 was just too similar to our current Audi on the inside to justify spending ~$50k (used A7 minus current Audi). It was nice, but to me just more of the same old car. So I decided to just keep our 06 Audi.

Then I made the 'mistake' of driving the MS. The clean, open modern interior with a useful interface (Unlike MMI) really impressed me and made me feel like I was in a 'new' car. The silent drive around the parking lot vs the slight diesel chatter, and then the immediate throttle response blew me away. I immediately knew I would be ordering a new model S that night when I got home. It was very easy to justify the price compared to my current car.

Plus the constant thumbs up and waves as you drive it around are priceless. Friends beg for test drives and it is always a topic of conversation. This is the first car I have ever bought without even the slightest hint of buyers remorse. So, sorry to say, the A7 is a very nice car, but it is just another car, nothing special. The MS is hopefully a first step into the future...

LEvans | 24. juni 2014

@Captain_Zap: I thought Tesla monitors the forums here but I agree the OP should forward his comments directly to Tesla.

Captain_Zap | 24. juni 2014

Not always. They rarely looked at it at all in the past. Sometimes we will point Tesla to threads.

The thread is for enthusiasts and owners to use.

tezzla.SoCal | 24. juni 2014

"And how about a simple, familiar shift lever near my right hand to make me feel like I'm driving a car instead of a golf cart?"

It's the same stalk in the Mercedes S550 golf cart!

bobrobert | 24. juni 2014

Correcting your 'oversights' sounds more like a redesign of the interior. You will probably have better luck on an Audi forum, recommending that company develop an EV drivetrain comparable to the MS. Or wait for the reincarnation of the Sportster - we'll be with you in just a little while.

proven | 24. juni 2014

The only problem I have with the interior is the lack of cup holders--and if you want to use the armrest it eliminates your only cup holder (as the driver).

Red Sage ca us | 24. juni 2014

Your salvation awaits:

West Coast Customs

DTsea | 24. juni 2014

Tesla +1. OP wants a gear shift lever in a car with no transmission, mounted where (in older R&D cars) it had a mechanical linkage to the transmission.

That's pretty funny. Well I hope he enjoys his Audi.

DTsea | 24. juni 2014

I meant tezzla. Spell check. Sigh.

Captain_Zap | 24. juni 2014

Where would I put my bag and notebook?

amatiych | 24. juni 2014

Love the complain about the position of the touch screen. Does any other company have anything similar to that touch screen?

Thomas N. | 24. juni 2014

You bought a 2-year old used gas-powered Audi and you're comparing it to the Model S?

I test drove the A8L. That was a really nice car. The maps were super slow to render. It had Google Maps on that funky screen that could be raised and lowered but they took so long to update it was like the were unusable.

The color combination and options I wanted would have to be ordered and that was a three month wait. On top of that there were something like only 5 cars in all of Orange County to choose from and every single one had 200 miles on it from test drives. No thanks.

I didn't care for the huge center console. I'm a big guy and it made me feel cramped. The back seat was for two people. Period. The transaxle case or whatever the "hump" is was almost as big as the front seat center console.

The real kicker was the cost - this thing was $110K equipped the way I liked it and the residuals were horrible making the payment over $1500 a month for a 36 month lease. It turned me to the BMW where they were subsidizing 750Li leases with residuals at 68% for a three year lease and payments of $900 a month.

Then I test drove the Model S and it was done. I did wait almost three months to get it and that was the best part. Your golf cart analogy is especially funny to me because my wife and I constantly turn creep off to specifically emulate a golf cart. We end up turning it back on because of stop and go traffic and inching up to cars. The point being that we WANT the car to act like a golf cart. A big, beautiful, fast monster of a golf cart.

I'm sorry you got the A7. I'm sorry the interior is that important to you. The sad fact is that you forgot about all that crap as soon as you drive it for a week. You don't miss cup holders, storage containers, vanity lights and all that other crap. You just drive this beautiful sleek quiet shark and then come home and plug it in only to be privileged enough to get to do it again the next day.

The Audi 7 is like driving an Accord. Meh. You drive it. You put gas in it. You store some maps and gum in a center console and you put three different liquids in three different cupholders simultaneously. You need all that liquid because you have to sit in the Costco gas line for 25 minutes every week waiting to save $0.20 per gallon. That way it only costs you $78 to fill up rather than $85.

Best of luck to you. Audi is, afterall, the new BMW.

carolinagobo | 24. juni 2014

I use to drive a Jaguar XJ way more luxurious than Audi A7, I got the MS and in the beginning felt that the Tesla interior was to flat. Now I am totally in love with the practicality of the interior of Model S I love it, in fact I order the console and now I'm not sure I want it.

SeattleSid | 24. juni 2014

Nothing much original to say, but I echo what others have said about a matter of taste. Part of the appeal, to me, of my MS, is the sleek and unfussy interior. As if to confirm that what this car is all about is the driving experience. As in, Driving.

That's the reason by buy a Tesla, and what's entirely unique about it. If the interior is dispositive for some, so be it. But I've never had a car that's literally therapeutic, like the MS is. I've never before felt like taking a drive just to feel better; and yet that's what I've done, more than once, in my Tesla. Just driving it is both calming and exhilarating. There's no car that drives like it, or comes close. The interior has everything I need, and it just calmly adds to the other pleasures by not subtracting or distracting from them.

That's my take. It's all about the experience of driving a car that handles uniquely, has unique power all along the spectrum, instant responsiveness, and that amazing quiet while it performs its special magic. Somehow I think it'd be different were the interior more overtly cushy and ostentatious. I think, were Tesla to produce a choice of cars that handled and looked the same outwardly, with one more Lexus/Audi-like on the inside, I'd stick with the style I have. But maybe not.

SeattleSid | 24. juni 2014

Neither excuse nor explanation for substituting "by" for "to."

carlk | 24. juni 2014

"I still wonder why those that bought other cars come here to moan and groan about Tesla? Does it make you feel better about your purchase or are you trying to convince Tesla owners they made a bad choice? "

I wondered about that too. Did any MS owners go to Audi board to complain why they did not buy one of theirs?

GAGSTESLA | 24. juni 2014

@WEB_SRFR:

Understand your point of view (and that you are not ready for a model S yet either).

My point is that Tesla could make the interior: (Fill in the blank), and SOMEONE would like something different. That is the way of the world. I would imagine that the Tesla manufactures know if their interior is a hit (it is) or not. I like it the way it is, so do many others. If you like something different, go buy that. Your endless posts about wood trim grow tiresome. If you like to DRIVE, the model S is your car. If you want to sit in something soft, go buy a couch.

To be compared to a golf cart? This not the right place for that.

mpetry | 24. juni 2014

Have had my car for just three weeks and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it, including the interior. I agree with other posters, to each their own but the fun is in the driving experience and tech that is so well thought out that it seemingly disappears in its functionality.

DonS | 24. juni 2014

"Less is more." - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

If you don't get it, you should buy your old style car because you are not ready for the future yet.

Rocky_H | 24. juni 2014

This is a different crowd in the personal economics demographic. I chuckled a little at someone who is having to choose between a Tesla Model S and an Audi A7 describing himself as a "mainstream buyer". Most of the people I know are in the $30K to $40K car range, and I think national average is around $32K, so considering either of these cars as "mainstream" struck me as a little funny.

The car you're coming from certainly influences how you think of your new car. I'm glad I was moving up from a Civic so everything seems amazing about the Model S.

LEvans | 24. juni 2014

@GAGSTESLA: We have a bit of a way to go between where we are now and the hypothetical situation you mentioned where they have improved the interior.

And wow, you seem to be quite bent out of shape there like someone criticized your first born child. I certainly hope you are not in sales because you'd do a very poor job at it because a customer may like 95% of a product like I do with the Model S but if someone said anything about the 5% that they dislike rather than rationally try to understand where they are coming from you fly off the handle.

The bottom line is when customers pay around $100K for a car they are used to not just a great driving car but a certain level of refinement inside the car.

And if you don't understand that or incapable of understanding that it is fine.

LEvans | 24. juni 2014

carlk wrote: "I wondered about that too. Did any MS owners go to Audi board to complain why they did not buy one of theirs?"

--

As a matter of fact it happens on other car forums as well. It's not meant to be a sacrilegious insult in your beliefs but a different perspective. That's the thing about public forums, people share their opinions based on their tastes and preferences.

Though I am waiting for AWD to buy a Model S, when we decided to not buy a Mercedes S class there was an 11 page discussion on the Mercedes forum about why I decided to not buy an S class and why I found the Model S to be a much better car. The discussion starts after post #9 and for the most part it was an informative discussion where many learned about the Model S.

It is ironic I defended Tesla for 11 pages of discussions on the Mercedes S class forum but got forbid I say something I dislike about the Model S interior and the Tesla fans act like I insulted their religion.

http://mbworld.org/forums/new-s-class-w222/534942-s63-amg-bad.html

Thomas N. | 24. juni 2014

"The bottom line is when customers pay around $100K for a car they are used to not just a great driving car but a certain level of refinement inside the car."

Not really. Model S is not a luxury car. You don't buy a Lamborghini Aventura for the beautiful interior. It's a cramped mess and you can't store a luggage carryon in that thing. You can spend 100K on a mid-90s Porsche Turbo S but the interior is going to be spartan.

I think when people start comparing the Model S interior with a Bentley, Jag, Rolls, BMW, Audi, etc. they are just setting themselves up for failure. Those are luxury car brands with luxury interiors. If that's what you want and "expect" then don't even give the Model S your time of day.

Are you after tech, pure electric power, 0-60 performance of a super car, the convenience of home charging, and support of a disruptive technology in an industry that's been rotting for 100 years? Perfect. You should really look at a Tesla.

Lycanthrope P85 | 24. juni 2014

@OP - you lost me a bit after you mentioned a traditional gear-stick. The total lack of anything remotely to do with gear is a major plus for me.

With three pre-teen kids I was a bit worried about the lack of storage space, but the reality is that now I don't have them I don't miss them either.

As for refinement, the previous car I had, Volvo XC90 Executive, was the most luxurious I've had, obviously nowhere near some of the plusher German beasts, but it was a tractor compared to my Model S. It's so quiet, so smoooooth.

Where I will agree is on the seats, they're rubbish. Maybe they're designed for obese Americans - no offence, my friends, but we are continually told that folks are a bit chubby over the pond :o)

plusplusjames | 24. juni 2014

I loved the A7. But it was just a car and did not have the storage capacity of the S. They're comparable in terms of price and so it was a no brainer to go with the Tesla. Despite the lack of grab handles.

Electricfun | 24. juni 2014

Just get an S7 problem solved.

LEvans | 24. juni 2014

@Thomas N: wrote "Not really. Model S is not a luxury car. You don't buy a Lamborghini Aventura for the beautiful interior. It's a cramped mess and you can't store a luggage carryon in that thing. You can spend 100K on a mid-90s Porsche Turbo S but the interior is going to be spartan.

---

Oh so I guess you were going to buy a Lamborghini Aventura and then decided to go with a Model S? :)

Most normal people who buy a $5,000 lb 4 door sedan that seats 5+2 are buying a daily driver. Many have families and many of those people with a budget of up to $100K are cross shopping this car with what Audi, Mercedes, and BMW has to offer. Whether you like it or not this is the competition for the Model S and the Model S is mopping the floor with the competition because the high performance drive-train is that good.

I am a huge Tesla/Model S proponent but I think Tesla can keep the interior minimalist but still make the interior more luxurious to better compete with the cars in the same price segment. With the right design these two concept don't have to be mutually exclusive.

GAGSTESLA | 24. juni 2014

@WEB_SRFR

As mentioned, MANY people love the interior the way it is. If YOU don't like it, please go buy something else. Coming on this forum is not going to change the interior no matter how many posts you write. AWD in the S? That is a good idea and I would imagine it may be coming in time.

Me is Sales? Yes as a matter of fact I am. I have learned through the years that my product is not for everybody, and it is a waste of my time trying to get them to buy it. If you want the cheapest product in our field, it is not me. Also, I have learned that not everybody likes me (shocking I know), once again, it is a waste of time to try and change their mind.

I do think I could sell you a Tesla:) if I worked for them.

dsmith | 24. juni 2014

Wow, I drove the Audi A6 one day after the Model S and I have to say it was a no contest. I literally hated the A6 interior, it felt cramped as heck and all those nobs I thought it was a steam punk invention.

To each his own, but for me the minimalist view in the Model S is king and its clean.

J.T. | 24. juni 2014

@GAGSTESLA +1

Yes, tiresome is the word. All of these people who believe that what they like or prefer would be an "improvement" are simply stuck on what Madison Avenue told them they wanted. They cling to their trim, storage, cushiness like a child clings to his blanket. And when those of us who see the future and like it try to persuade them to let go and move forward, well, we're accused of throwing the same fit that they are already throwing.

LEvans | 24. juni 2014

@GAGSTESLA wrote:

Me is Sales? Yes as a matter of fact I am. I have learned through the years that my product is not for everybody, and it is a waste of my time trying to get them to buy it. If you want the cheapest product in our field, it is not me. Also, I have learned that not everybody likes me (shocking I know), once again, it is a waste of time to try and change their mind.

I do think I could sell you a Tesla:) if I worked for them.

---

Wow you might want to go for some sales training because it seems you completely lost the fact that I am already sold on a Model S. That really sucks that you are in sales and completely lost the fact that a customer has already decided to buy the product :)

Someone may buy a Model S (because of the EV drive train) but not be entirely happy with the interior of the car and they may express that point in a public forum. Perhaps you are incapable of understanding a different perspective other than the current interior in your eyes being the absolute best and most perfect interior anyone can make. Others may disagree a bit.

This whole notion of if you dislike anything about the Model S, buy something else is getting a bit old as it implies the Model S that exists today is perfect in every possible way and there is no room for improvement and no one should dare even say anything that could be improved.

Who knows, the same way Tesla is making the seats better they may address some of the other concerns with the interior as well.

J.T. | 24. juni 2014

@GAGSTESLA I do think I could sell you a Tesla:) if I worked for them. You do, we all do. :-)

AmpedRealtor | 24. juni 2014

@ stephen.bennett,

All things are not equal. Model S is not a $100k luxury car, it's a $100k premium sedan where you are paying an early adopter tax for driving the best EV on the planet. Half the car's retail cost is the battery. Audi doesn't have to recoup tens of millions in development costs while shipping under 40,000 vehicles annually.

Model S makes sense at approximately $100k if you are willing to pay a premium for driving the highest performance, longest range EV available. Model S does not make sense if you are looking to be cradled in the lap of luxury. Model S won't give you a manny-peddy while driving, but it will make you smile.

Steve1501 | 24. juni 2014

@stephen.bennett - I feel badly that you are being slammed on this thread, but then again, you were the opening post. I do have one question which equates to an oxymoron. If you love your A7 and if you are so enthralled with its interior, then what are you doing on the Tesla website? Clearly, something is drawing you back to the Model S. Are you having buyer's remorse not getting one?

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